If you’re like me and was thinking that a lot more people should be checking out CRIMINAL ELEMENT, based on the strength of albums like Guilty as Charged, believe me when I say that the Crime and Punishment Pt. 1 EP (Relapse Records) is about to blow things wide open for the death/grind/thrash act. Featuring ex-DYING FETUS vocalist Vince Matthew, bassist Mike Lilly, guitarist Daren Moris, guitarist Mark Kloeppel (MISERY INDEX), and drummer Adam Jarvis (MISERY INDEX), CRIMINAL ELEMENT is that rare band that can bring the metal with so much violence and force, yet make each song groovy and memorable, with nary a second wasted in the process. Vince Matthews phoned to give us a brief history lesson, break down the new EP, and proudly announce the great things yet to come from what had previously been a criminally underrated act.
MAA: It kind of seems like CRIMINAL ELEMENT has been operating under the radar these past several years. More recently, with the new EP the band has been getting more attention though.
Vince Matthews: The reason why is because when we started out it was basically a side band and it was meant to just be that where we weren’t even recording anything. We just wrote songs, me and an original guy Wayne Jones. When I moved up to New York and the guys from SUFFOCATION were there I kind of grew up with those guys pretty much, from the very beginning demo days. They used to come down and play D.C. a lot, so I got really close to them. When I showed ‘em these songs, Derek [Boyer] and Terrance [Hobbs] we just hit it out one night. It was still meant to be under the radar because I had a job and wasn’t interested in touring and those guys were already in SUFFOCATION. I guess we got a little success with Career Criminal and I read the reviews and thought “hey, those are just silly songs, so why not try to really write some good songs and see where I can go with it?” When you do that it usually takes a couple of years for it to come to the surface and people know who you are and I think that’s happening right now.